May God be merciful and bless us.
May God’s face smile with favor on us.
May your ways be known throughout the earth,
your saving power among people everywhere.
Let the whole world sing for joy,
because you lead the nations with justice
and guide the people of the whole world.
May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
Then the earth will yield its harvests,
and God will richly bless us.
Yes, God will bless us,
and people all over the world will be in awe of God.
~adapted from Psalm 67
Dears Friends in Christ,
When I started serving in my first congregation, I felt truly blessed to be called into the ministry of Jesus Christ, and I wanted to share my sense of blessing. I began signing my emails and cards with the words: “Blessings on the journey” which I often shorten to “Blessings.” I still sign my emails and cards with these words, I hope they pass along my joy and God’s blessings to each person I communicate with in my ministry.
Jan Richardson writes: A blessing typically has a quality of invocation. It calls upon the presence of God often during times of difficulty, crisis or pain. A blessing invites us to open our hands to receive what God offers in response – to turn ourselves toward the blessing God most wants to give us. It is no small thing to allow ourselves to receive this gift, this blessing, especially when it comes in a form we did not expect and perhaps would not have chosen for ourselves.
Richardson continues: The best blessings awaken our imagination. In places of difficulty, struggle, or pain, blessings call us to look closely rather than turn away. In such places, they challenge us not to accept how things are but to dream of how they could be transformed.
They invite us to discern how God might be calling us to participate in bringing transformation to life.
This morning I offer you this blessing from Jan Richardson’s book Circle of Grace:
Let these words lay themselves like a blessing upon your head, your shoulders,
as if, like hands, they could pass on to you what you most need for this day.
As if they could anoint you not merely for the path ahead
but for this ordinary moment that opens itself to youopens
itself like another hand that unfurls itself, that reaches out to gather these
words in the bowl of its palm.
You may think this blessing lives within these words,
but I tell you it lives in the opening and in the reaching;
it lives in the ache where this blessing begins;
it lives in the hollow made by the place where the hands of this blessing meet.
Blessings on the journey,